Synth Site: Akai: XE8: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Noel M. Ibarle a professional user from Philippines writes:
Hi! I am Noel from the Philippines. I am a professional MIDI arranger for TV/Rdio commercial jingles. I own an Akai XE8 that I acquired (used) from eBay. I find it quite hard to figure out how to use it unlike my other modules because it did not come with the Operation Manual. If anyone would be kind to help me source even a pdf copy of the manual, I'd be so, so thankful! Thanks!! Noel

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-08-2005 at 01:28
Bastiaan a hobbyist user from The Netherlands writes:
Yesterday I bought a 2nd hand XE8 and it turned out to be a nice (but not more than that) machine. In fact, you're only buying 48 samples with a little tweakability...

I payed 75 EUR for it (less than 100 US$) and given the condition of the module, that was a good price. Little bonus: it turned out to be formerly owned by Ron Boots, a Dutch electronic musician.

The sounds are nice, be it a bit mediocre in character. I only have the additional Dry Set and the Ambiance Set. Those and the internal sounds, do not provide any stunning or strange sounds. There are kicks, snares, toms, bells, open and closed hi hats, rides, bonga-ish sounds and an orchestra hit. The kicks are nice, but don't expect booming 909-like stuff. The toms are full and with a nice tone. Most snares are a bit thin but fairly useable. The hi-hats are okay, even a bit too "fat" (but nothing EQ can't fix).

The sound quality is excellent, though. Lot's of dynamics, no disturbing noise and the samples are good. Only one snare seems a bit chopped off, but some programming in the envelope could fix that.

The interface is quite logical, but the fact that you only have two push buttons and two dial buttons for all the settings, makes is a bit of a tedious job to change things. And you need the manual to know what the 2-digit LCD characters (mostly numbers, but sometimes 'A' or 'b') mean.

What I miss is some kind of "confirm" or "store" button. Settings are stored instantly and only switching on the memory protection can prevend you from screwing things.

The machine can hold up to 32 programs. Each program can hold up to 16 sounds, chosen from any of the 48 available: internal, front ROM card or rear ROM card. In each program you can tune/tweak each of the 16 sounds.

For each of the 16 sounds you can independantly determine to what keyrange it responds. So you can have either 16 separate ranges with each a different sound, you can layer 16 sounds under one key or anything in between those two.

There are some ways to modulate things with pitch, modwheel or key position, but I haven't been through that yet.

You can program a pitch-sweep and there's a simple attack-decay envelope to be programmed for the volume.

The XE8 has 9 outputs: 1 mix and 8 separate. Each of the 16 sounds in a program can be sent to any one of those 8 outputs. There's also a setting to let the machine "roll" through the outputs, so that each consecutive sound it played to a new output.

A little downside for me are the screws on the bottomplating. When put on top of another modules or when pushed in a rack setup, it scratches.

What might also be a bit of a problem if you own more than 2 cards, is the rear slot. In a rack you would only be able to change the front card (unless you're willing to unscrew things or have the possibility to reach the rear of the rack).

It's a rare machine. The reason can't be that nobody wants to sell his. I just think not much units were sold, because of lack of character and the amount of competition in this range.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-22-2004 at 04:15
Tom Lockwood a part-time user from U.S.A. writes:
This is a terrific accessory to have in my rack. I use it on some music projects,but not is a kick to use works fine hooked up to my old Alesis's a fun toy to experiment with,and sounds just fine to me. altho I sometimes end up running it thru some affects,normally very minimal when I has a lot of capability, and much of that has not been utilized. after all, it is easily configured to work with it's partner, The- [ME35T] or similar device.(some refer to it as "The Brain" ) I have looked at one other piece of gear very similar to the Akai XE8, and was amused to notice that it was a single rack unit, and from what I could tell, it basically did the same thing as the XE8,however, it was recently manufactured, or at least fairly recent.I'm pretty sure it was in a Musician'a Friend a year or so ago. I've heard Real Drums that were triggered and going thru a mixer Live, in a pub setting, and I've heard a Digital Drumset, the fullsize version, with the Cage and the beater pedal etc.which was going thru (I think) Warhead amp,and a roland sounded absolutley awsome, and I believe nearly every drummer would love to own the setup that I got to hear. the other one ( REAL ONE ) which was triggered, sounded astoundingly rich, and more processed,but not in a bad way. the digital setup with the well paired amps seemed awesomely real,and very powerfull and dynamic.even more realistic than the triggered ones, but sometimes when I'm recording, I want a little Hitech hype thrown in. and that's where the XE8 can SHINE.if I lost my XE8, I'd want it back,or something to replace it, "Specifically"

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-27-2004 at 14:44
raymond a hobbyist user from london/UK writes:
Saw one being sold for £110 in the local music shop on their digital rack. No manual or cards. Walked into a second-hand shop and found this one in BIN for £40! Haggled and settled for £25. on the panel lighting up and the leds responding to the knobs! Good enough for ME! Had no h/phones to listen to samples, probably good move as sh/keeper might not have settled at that final ammount! Any help out there would be welcomed

posted Thursday-Dec-04-2003 at 12:53
Absent a hobbyist user from England writes:
I've just bought an XE8 for the tiny sum of £20. With a manual. Nice. Haven't used it yet though, and compared to my other gear it will look a bit antiquated. But what the hell, it was only £20, and I've always wanted a dedicated drum machine. Even in these days of G4's that can produce entire finished tracks, I still found the need to satisfy my curious gear lust.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jul-23-2003 at 05:08
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